After a bit of a letdown game against the New York Rangers on Friday night, the Calgary Flames (28-19-8) are back at it with an eye towards redemption in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders (27-23-6). The Flames are coming off a game on Friday where they coughed up a third period lead, while the Islanders made a miraculous comeback in their game against Detroit. It’s Travis Hamonic’s first game back at Barclays Center since his draft day trade to the Flames.
The game starts just after 5 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund (A) – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Hathaway
Lomberg – Stajan – Lazar
Giordano (C) – Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone
Mike Smith starts for the 47th time this season. He’s 22-16-6 with a 2.54 goals against average and .921 save percentage. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The expected healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski and Marek Hrivik.
The Flames’ penalty kill has allowed a goal in each of the last six games. The Flames’ power play has out-scored the opposition’s in zero of the past six games – they were even in their 7-4 loss against Tampa Bay, but have otherwise lost the special teams battle. Both groups need to be better.
Johnny Gaudreau enters the evening tied for second in the National Hockey League in scoring with 65 points. Gaudreau’s brilliance has been overshadowed somewhat by Smith’s heroics in net and the team’s overall inconsistency, but the smallest person on the Flames has easily been their biggest offensive weapon.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Lee – Tavares – Bailey
Beauvillier – Barzal – Eberle
Ladd – Nelson – Clutterbuck
Johnston – Cizikas – Chimera
Leddy – Boychuk
Hickey – Pulock
Pelech – Aho
Jaroslav Halak starts for the Islanders. He’s 17-16-4 with a 3.23 goals against average and .908 save percentage. He’s backed up by Thomas Greiss. The expected scratches are Dennis Seidenberg, Alan Quine and Tanner Fritz. Remember, the Islanders’ Sebastian Aho is a 21-year-old defenseman from Sweden, while the other Sebastian Aho plays for Carolina, is from Finland and plays right wing.
The Isles had four power play goals during a five minute power play that got them back into their game on Friday, ultimately leading to an overtime win. Their power play is sharp, but it has to be to keep them in games. The Islanders have statistically the worst goaltending in the league, and the only team with worse penalty killing is the Edmonton Oilers. If the Flames are ever gonna jump-start their power play, tonight’s a golden opportunity.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Kris Versteeg (hip) are on the injured reserve. Troy Brouwer (facial fracture) is hurt but on the active roster.
NY Islanders: Nikolay Kulemin (upper-body), Shane Prince (undisclosed) and Calvin de Haan (upper-body) are on the injured reserve.
When Last We Met
These teams haven’t played each other yet this season. They split the two meetings last season, with the home team winning each game. They’ll meet again on Mar. 11 in Calgary.
With the Belmont Park arena deal solidifying, this could be one of the last games the Flames play in Brooklyn. Good riddance, as the Flames have yet to win a game at Barclays Center.
Know Thy Enemy
Here are some nice folks that discuss the Isles:
Sum It Up
It’s the fourth game of a six game road trip, and a chance for the Flames to make up for a crappy effort against the Rangers.
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